|Alcohol and Drugs|
The law pertaining to the sale and possession of alcoholic beverages is fairly simple. You may not "sell, give, or otherwise supply" alcohol, liquor, or wine to any person you know to be under the age of twenty-one. Additionally, you may not "sell, give, or otherwise supply" alcohol, liquor, or wine to a person you have reasonable cause to believe is under the age of twenty-one. If you are under the age of eighteen you may not "individually or jointly" have alcohol, wine, or beer in your possession. If you are under the age of eighteen and are discovered by the police to be in the possession of such beverages, you may be referred to the juvenile court, and the matter may be reported to your parents or guardian.
If you are between the ages of eighteen and twenty, you may not "possess or purchase" alcohol, wine, or beer. However, if you are under the age of twenty-one, you may be given alcoholic beverages in the privacy of your home by your parent or guardian. If you are an adult - other than a liquor licensee or permittee - and you violate these laws, the following penalties are imposed. The first offense is a "scheduled offense" and can result in a fine. A second or subsequent offense is a simple misdemeanor and can result in a fine or a jail sentence of up to 30 days.
Operating While Under The Influence (OWI)
OWI is driving while under the influence (also known as DWI) of alcohol, a drug, a controlled substance, or a combination of those substances. If you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above or the presence of a controlled substance in your system, you can be found guilty of OWI. A first offense can result in up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are charged with OWI within 12 years of your first offense, you could face up to 2 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. A third offense is a felony and can result in 5 years prison and a $5,000 fine. A conviction for a third offense will also result in your driver’s license being revoked for 6 years. A drunk driving offense may also cost you your car’s registration.
"Operating” a vehicle does not necessarily mean that a person is driving. Even if the vehicle is parked with the ignition on, a person can still be charged with OWI.
A police officer can request a breath, urine, or blood sample to test for alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances. A test result that is over .08 or shows the presence of a controlled substance is considered a test failure and will result in a 6-month driver’s license revocation for a first offense. A second or subsequent test failure in 12 years will result in a one-year driver’s license revocation. You may be eligible for a temporary restricted license to drive to work and school. You can contact the Department of Transportation to find out what you must do to obtain a temporary license.
It is your right to refuse a test offered by the police; however, there will be consequences. Test refusal on a first offense will result in a one-year revocation of your license, and test refusal on a second or subsequent test within 12 years will result in a two-year revocation.
A conviction for possession of a controlled substance (including marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, and even prescription drugs for which you do not have a prescription) can have very serious consequences. You can be charged with drug possession for having as little as a couple of seeds or the residue of marijuana. A first offense can result in up to one year in jail and a $250 fine. Your driver’s license will also be revoked for 180 days. Furthermore, under federal law, you will never be eligible for federal student financial aid if you are convicted of drug possession, including marijuana. Subsequent offenses will result in more severe punishment.
Transportation of Alcohol
A driver on a public street cannot have an open or unsealed bottle of alcohol in the passenger area (the area designated to seat the driver and passengers). An open or unsealed bottle may be transported in the trunk of a car or behind the last upright seat in a vehicle without a trunk.